Sep 26 day 26 Auckland Airport to campground at Clevedon Village 34 km 7:30-3:00
Slept in a bit, had coffee at Jamaica Blue– good coffee– then set out for what would be the most boring day almost (saved by the end). Had about 28 kilometers that was pretty much all sidewalk walking. The only bright spot was the middle of the day when the trail went through the Auckland Botanic Garden, and since it was Saturday, it seems to be dog day– dogs and their owners everywhere, was very cool. Made me miss Umbro so much. The walk did get prettier as the day progressed, further out into farmland. Horse training areas. The last 5 km was up and over a hill, and, wouldn’t you know, in the last two it turned to steep mud with gorse (and blood), then I came out at what I thought was a campground. Turned out to be a Cub Scout facility and they were having their clean-up day. The Warden offered me a bunk, shower, and sausages on the grill. I took the shower and a sausage, opted to set up tent, then ended up sitting in the sun with the volunteers drinking beer and listening to stories about life in the village, including a doctor who somehow accidentally let his sheep into the house, and an absent husband who, when drinking too much, was easily convinced to grab electric fences. Lots of laughter– more kiwi generosity. Set up tent, then headed to local pub for more beer and pizza, and an evening watching village life south of Auckland, very gratifying.